LYNNWOOD — The Volkswagen Passat was parked in a handicapped space.
There was no placard.
The violation caught the eye of a police officer with Lynnwood’s Special Operations Section.
So he parked his patrol car earlier this week and walked into the America’s Best Value Inn to investigate.
A clerk at the front desk directed him to the room where the owner of the car was staying.
The threat of a parking citation turned out to be the least of the Marysville man’s worries.
The officer would sift through a series of lies and misdirection, according to court papers. His search for truth led to the discovery of 2.5 pounds of heroin and 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine as well as marijuana and pills.
Lynnwood police Sgt. Sean Doty said the officer’s line of questioning “just goes to show” the importance of pursuing a hunch.
The officer quickly determined that the man had handed him a bogus California driver’s license under the name “Justin Case.” Not only was it a forged document, but the height and weight of the suspect and the man identified on the license were different. He was much shorter and weighed much less.
“I confronted the male about this and he said he lost weight,” the officer wrote. “I asked him if he shrunk as well and he stated he has not changed much physically.”
A police dispatcher determined that the license didn’t exist.
“The male continued to say it was a big mistake and we would find out later on that we were wrong,” the officer wrote.
A woman who was with him also misidentified herself, according to court papers.
The officer took the man into custody for providing a forged I.D. He later was identified as Todd L. Ashbach, 45.
The officer searched him and allegedly discovered $9,000 in Ashbach’s front pocket. The stack of $100 bills was folded over neatly and covered with a couple of $1 bills.
Police also learned that Ashbach had several felonies on his record and arrested him for unlawful possession of four firearms.
With a court-approved search warrant, they recovered a handgun with a silencer on top of the hotel room bed. There was a round in the chamber. Another loaded handgun was found in a backpack by a sink. A third loaded handgun was retrieved from beneath the sheets of the bed. Inside the trunk of the Volkswagen, police found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun.
Their searches turned up a jacket that said police on the back with Seattle Police Department badges. They found a police officer duty belt with a gun holster and multiple loaded magazines and additional ammunition.
A judge set bail at $250,000.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.